There appears to be two styles of maintaining trees and had spotted both driving through the streets of Doha, the first is the smoothed trunk (which is painted white near the bottom in some places) and then the other is the stalks are cut really short leaving a tortoise shell appearance on the trunk.
Unfortunately I didn't take a recent photo of the before, but did find the tree in my garden in the corner of another photo and cropped it out and as you can see below it looks a bit of a mess.
I prefer the really smooth appearance and had no idea how this was achieved. Time to hit Google. First off I searched for "How to dress a Palm Tree" and got a heap of results relating to dresses with pictures of palm trees on them. After refining the search to "Palm Tree maintenance" i had a look at a couple of the gardening sites returned, but they still didn't really tell you how to do it, but were really only offering the services to do it. I then spotted this video link and the guy showed exactly what to do.
Excellent, so into my tool box to see if I had a sturdy knife, yep, blunt as anything, so sharpened it up crudely on the surface of some smooth concrete and set to work.
After a couple of hours I had managed to finish about 5 foot of tree base, and couldn't reach any higher on my step ladder. It was enough for the time being as my hands were a bit battered and grazed, bleeding etc, from rubbing on the surface of the tree. (I did have gloves, but they were already in a poor state from digging in the garden mud, so were as stiff as board, so elected not to use them).
It was a pretty messy job, filling a couple of wheelie bins full of off cuts, but also, the amount of dust, sand that was falling out of the gaps, and not forgetting the beasties, I don't know how many different types of insects I came across, but fortunately none that tried to eat me alive!
As you can see in the picture below, it is starting to look better from the section done at the bottom, compared to the section still to do at the top.
Now I just need to find the big ladder that is usually lying around the compound somewhere and get the top section done some day!